Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


Alumni Spotlight: Esther Uwannah

Esther Uwannah is a Radiation Safety Physicist who graduated from our Medical Physics MSci programme in 2015.

Image of Esther Uwannah with quote: "I want to inspire every young black girl who is interested in physics."

1 January 2021

Esther was featured earlier in 2020 in Stylist magazine, and we reached out to catch up with her and to find out where her career has taken her since her days with us at UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering.

She shared her advice on work-life balance (it takes organisation but it's worth it!), explained how her degree was fundamental to her career (and getting her dream job), and discussed how she strives to make her mark outside of work: by inspiring young people through school outreach and redefining norms of what a "typical scientist" looks like.

What was the most important thing you learned from your degree?

The most important thing I learnt during my degree was that work-life balance takes organisation: but it is so worth it!

Living in London for the first time was awesome, but if I wasn’t organised I would never have been able to take advantages of all the cool pop-ups, shows, nights out, and amazing food there was all around me. I’ve carried that into my life post-graduation, and people still ask me how I have time to do so much — this was especially true when I was a trainee, and working while doing my MSc.

How did your time at UCL impact your career?

My degree was incredibly fundamental to my career: with the modules I ended up choosing in third and fourth year, I felt as though I had a headstart on everyone else because I already understood a huge proportion of my job before I started. And of course, the problem solving, communication and maths skills were really helpful too.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

I’m currently a Radiation Safety Physicist, and I work at Barts Health NHS Trust. Straight after my degree, I got into the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) in North London, and this is my first job after completing that and becoming a registered Clinical Scientist. 

What I like most about my job, is getting the opportunity to do something which benefits patients, but is still challenging and “mathsy”. I get to travel all around London — testing equipment, auditing, teaching — but if I want a quiet day at my desk, I can have one. 

This is genuinely my dream job, and I feel very lucky to have found something that suits me so well. 

Another thing which I love and is very important to me, is getting to do Physics outreach at local schools. I want to inspire every young black girl who is interested in Physics but has been discouraged, to keep pursuing it — because it is something that we can do (and be very good at!), and you don’t have to be super geeky or look like your “typical scientist” to find your niche in science.